October

On my way up to the garden I had a nice surprise.  The camellia’s are in bloom!!!  I think the bee in the image below spent the night on this blossom.  It’s the end of October, she’s cold and waiting for the sun to warm her joints before starting another busy day.

Bee on Camellia flower. October 2016

Camellia. October 2016

In the garden this has been the year of the peppers  They have really done well and for that I’m thankful but there is a but.  The but — it’s feast or famine. We go through a long spell when we really want peppers but none are ripe.  Then OH MY we have peppers, and more peppers and can’t keep up with them.  It seems that five pepper plants for a family of two is just too many.   I’m going to have to do some soul searching and if I don’t change the number of plants maybe I need to change the varieties we grow.  We do not need 4 bell pepper plants.

Bell Peppers. October 2016

Bell Peppers. October 2016

See the peppers in the basket below.  The green ones.  I have no idea what type of peppers they are but they  really taste good.  Someone very dear to me is going to create a wonderful dish tonight and they are part of the recipe.  Just out of curiosity: Do peppers cross pollinate?

Peppers and figs. October 2016

A few peppers and figs from the garden. October 2016

If you look in the basket you’ll notice that I also brought in a few figs.  As they ripen the squirrels, birds, wasps, beetles and ants have a field day.  The fig tree is a popular hangout for local wildlife.  Right now there’s not enough ripe fruit for both humans and wildlife.  For now I’ll let the wildlife enjoy the sweet fruit.  I think they need it more than we do.   This year I will not fight them for access to the figs.

Fig tree with unripe figs. October 2016

Fig Tree. October 2016

While the fig is covered with fruit I don’t think much will ripen before a hard frost.  It had been protected from the cold by the garage and a grove of large pines.  The first winter without the pines was a real shock to the fig and most of it died back to the ground.  It’s come back nicely and is once again over 10 feet tall.  Slowly it’s re-acclimating.  I’m thinking we’ll have a bumper corp next year.  Then I will confront the wildlife and let them know I also will be looking for ripe fruit.  We love fig preserves.  And these figs are wonderful in preserves.

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Sorting and sifting compost. October 2016

The last week of October brought a break in the heat.  It was less humid and a little cooler so I took the time to clean up the compost pile. It’s a two day process.  On day one I pull everything out that hasn’t broken down yet, fluff it up and set it aside.  Then I dug around in the finished compost and get the ants good and mad.  They need to realize that their home is going to be severely damaged if not destroyed.  I want to give them time to leave, to move their eggs, or at the very least, go down deeper and hopefully out of the finished compost.  It’s the end of the season and I’ve had my fill of ant bites.  If you’ve never experienced the alarm that sets in when you realize the burning sensation on your belly, around your waist band, or on your neck is the result of ants clamping down and stinging the bejesus out of you you’ve missed something.

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Finished compost ready to spread. October 2016

In the end it’s worth it.  Look at the finished compost that came from just this one pile.  As I clean the beds it will be spread.  Right now it’s piled where the cucumbers and squash were growing.  This bed will play host to tomatoes next year.  I hope to plant at least two rows that are 16 feet or about 5 meters long.  Tomatoes are the one crop that no matter how many I grow I’m told that I should grow more.

The days are getting shorter and I’m going to get the garden ready for spring.  Strange thing to say isn’t it.  But I find that the work I do now helps to set the stage for the following season.  My attempt at a fall crop in the garden has been a bust.  Cabbage worms and aphids had a heyday with the young broccoli and collard greens.  Lesson learned.  Cool season crops do not like hot weather and it’s been both hot and dry.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time…

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